Yemen

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Medical airbridge launched
  • UN calls for protection of civilians as war casualties spike in Marib, Al Jawf and Sana’a governorates
  • Humanitarian community reaffirms commitment to Yemen amid concerns on shrinking operating space
  • Aid agencies brace to contain cholera ahead of the rainy season
  • YHF allocates a record $109.4 million to support gaps in the HRP’s first and second line response
Yemen Humanitarian Update No. 2 February 2020
A Yemeni child on board the first flight of the medical airbridge in Sana'a airport waiting to travel to Amman. Credit: BBC/ Lyse Doucet

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Yemen

Situation Report

Key Figures

24.1M
People in Need
14.3M
People in Acute Need
3.65M
Displaced People

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Yemen

Situation Report

Funding

$4.2B
Required
$3.6B
Received
86%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Aiden O'Leary

Head of Office

Tapiwa Gomo

Head of Communication

Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Medical airbridge launched

On 3 February, a group of six chronically ill children and their carers were flown from Sana’a to Amman, Jordan for treatment; a second plane carrying 23 sick men, women and children and their companions followed on 8 February. The flights are part of a United Nations/World Health Organization (WHO) medical airbridge operation transporting chronically ill Yemenis who cannot get the treatment they need within country . Many suffer from different types of cancers, kidney disease, congenital anomalies and other conditions that require specialist treatment.

The launch of the operation was welcomed in a joint statement by senior UN leadership in Yemen, including UN Special Envoy, Mr. Martin Griffiths, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Lise Grande and the WHO Representative, Dr. Altaf Musani. The flights were an outcome of negotiations involving Mr. Griffiths and Ms. Grande, as well as the governments of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and were coordinated by WHO in collaboration with local public health and population authorities. The medical airbridge is part of the UN’s ongoing humanitarian operation in Yemen.

In a joint statement, senior UN officials indicated that, “Many United Nations entities and several governments in the region and around the world have collaborated to get these patients the treatment they need abroad, and we are grateful to them all. The United Nations will do what it can to ensure the  continuation of the medical airbridge as a temporary solution to reduce the suffering of the Yemeni people until a more sustainable solution is reached in the near future.”

Patients for the flights were selected based on need, and their medical files were reviewed by the High Medical Committee, a group of medical doctors that work with local health authorities to guide the selection process, and by a global service provider, against a list of twelve critical conditions that cannot be treated in Yemen. Many of the patients who flew to Jordan have already undergone successful surgeries. Plans are underway for the next medical airbridge flight to Egypt. WHO is working with partners to finalize the patient list and the date of departure.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Trends
UN calls for protection of civilians

UN calls for protection of civilians as war casualties spike in Marib, Al Jawf and Sana’a governorates

The upsurge in hostilities that began in mid-January in Marib, Al Jawf and Sana’a governorates, continued into March, causing a spike in civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure.

Multiple air strikes hit the Al Hayjah area in Al Maslub District, Al Jawf Governorate on 15 February killing 34 civilians including 26 children and 6 women and injuring 23 other civilians including 18 children and one woman.

Intense clashes broke out in Al Hazm City, Al Jawf Governorate, on 1 March causing massive displacement of civilians. Heavy fighting, including artillery shelling, was reportedly ongoing by late afternoon on 2 March, mainly in the outskirts of Al Hazm District. As of 2 March, the overall civilian casualty figures and number of displaced persons was unclear due to continued fighting in the affected.

Humanitarian partners continue to verify civilian casualty figures and the final figures are expected to be higher. Humanitarian partners deployed rapid response teams to the affected areas to provide first aid to the injured, many of whom were transferred for treatment to hospitals in Al Jawf and Sana’a.

The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Ms. Lise Grande, issued a statement on 15 February expressing condolences to the families of those killed and wishing a speedy recovery to those injured. “Under international humanitarian law parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility. It’s shocking,” said Ms. Grande. In his briefing to the UN Security Council on 18 February, Mr. Mark Lowcock, the Emergency Response Coordinator, echoed the Humanitarian Coordinator’s sentiments.

In another statement on 20 February, the UNICEF Representative in Yemen, Sara Beysolow Nyanti, called on parties to the conflict, “to protect the lives of children by first and foremost putting an end to this brutal war.” Just a week before the air strikes in Al Maslub District, on 7 February, the Al Jafra Hospital and Al Saudi Field Hospital were badly damaged by fighting in the Majzer District of Marib Governorate, and a paramedic was also injured. Both facilities, which serve a population of about 15,000 people, were closed for security reasons at the time they were hit.

In a statement of 10 February, Ms. Grande condemned the attack on public facilities as a breach of international humanitarian law. “It is terrible that facilities upon which thousands of people depend to survive have been badly damaged.”

Fighting across the three governorates has caused further displacement, with an estimated 35,000 people having fled their homes between 19 January and 17 February and humanitarian partners continued to respond to needs. Most of those displaced persons are in Marib City and surrounding areas staying in overcrowded public buildings, in displacement sites and with the local community. Nearly 5,000 are scattered in Nihm and Bani Hushaysh Ddistrict in Sana’a Governorate.

The actual number of IDPs is likely to be higher as many families are staying with the host families and may not have been included in estimates. Access to Nihm was limited due to security concerns and in parts of Al Jawf, the response is hindered by lack of access, mobile telecommunications and partner capacity. For details of the humanitarian response see: https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-displacement- marib-sana-and-al-jawf-governorates- situation-report-no-2-18

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Yemen

Situation Report
Access
Overview of the Humanitarian Access Incidents

Humanitarian community reaffirms commitment to Yemen amid concerns on shrinking operating space

The European Commission and Sweden hosted a Humanitarian Senior Officials meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen on 13 February in Brussels. All participants at the meeting, who included donors, United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), expressed a shared concern and commitment to act collectively.

In a joint statement, the Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič and the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson expressed concern at the rapidly shrinking humanitarian space. They called on all parties to actively support the UNled negotiations aimed at a peaceful solution to the crisis, to protect civilians and to comply with International Humanitarian Law. “We brought together the main humanitarian actors engaged in the Yemen crisis, the world largest humanitarian crisis. Needs in Yemen are unprecedented. All humanitarian actors remain firmly committed to continue providing vital support to the people of Yemen in line with humanitarian principles. We are deeply alarmed at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian space all over the country. It has reached a breaking point where delivery of life-saving assistance is at risk.

A concrete step change is needed in order to continue to provide vital support to the people of Yemen. All restrictions, obstructions and interference violating humanitarian principles should be removed immediately and once and for all.” Donors reaffirmed their full support for the UN, INGOs and other humanitarian organizations operating in Yemen.

Humanitarian and development organizations agreed on a shared commitment to remain engaged and ready to help the Yemeni population. Part of the commitment includes recalibrating assistance, including a downscaling, or even interruption, of certain operations, if and where delivery of aid in accordance with the humanitarian principles is impossible. The commitment also includes a dialogue with all parties and the recent indication of willingness to remove constraints for aid delivery on the ground needs to be followed up. The meeting also paid tribute to the work of all our partners who are operating under extreme conditions on the ground.

A non-permissive operating environment

The Brussels meeting came against a backdrop of increasing humanitarian access challenges, making Yemen one of the most non-permissive operating environment in the world. Between October and November 2019 humanitarian partners reported 719 access incidents across 141 districts in 20 governorates, an upsurge compared to 502 incidents reported in August and September. Persistent delays in project approvals by authorities continue to block a timely and effective response. By the end of February, 123 NGO projects remain unimplemented, in part or in full, due to authorities’ pending approvals of sub-agreements.

The pending projects target an estimated 8.2 million people in need and have a cumulative budget of $280 million. NGO partners reported 82 projects pending with authorities in Sana’a and 41 projects pending with the authorities in Aden. Between October 2019 and February 2020, 69 NGO projects were reported approved.

Unimplemented projects have been pending approval for over six months on average. Severe challenges were reported for those projects pending approval with Sana’a authorities, which only approved half of the submitted projects since 2019. Between October and November, aid agencies faced an unprecedented number of delays, denials and blockages in reaching people in need. Up to 400 incidents of movement restrictions were 4 reported and this is nearly two and a half times higher than in August and September.

More than 90 per cent of the reported movement constraints were reported in the north and these range from delays and denials of travel permits impacting needs assessments, deliveries of humanitarian assistance as well as monitoring activities. In the south, Ad Durayhimi and At Tuhayta in Al Hudaydah Governorate remain hard-to-reach due to ad hoc restrictions on humanitarian movements. Interference in humanitarian operations by local authorities continued, with over 148 separate incidents reported. This predominantly pertained to interference in beneficiary registration, tampering with in-kind aid distributions and attempts to divert aid. In the north, 146 directives that contravene the neutrality and independence of humanitarian operations, global humanitarian standards, and contractual agreements with international donors continued to affect the aid operation since 2019.

In the south, challenges associated with securing project sub-agreements, NGO principal agreements and visas were reported. Violence against humanitarian personnel and assets remained pervasive, predominantly in the northern areas. Some 142 separate incidents were reported in October and November, including 40 incidents reported. This predominantly pertained to interference in beneficiary registration, tampering with in-kind aid distributions and attempts to divert aid.

In the north, 146 directives that contravene the neutrality and independence of humanitarian operations, global humanitarian standards, and contractual agreements with international donors continued to affect the aid operation since 2019. In the south, challenges associated with securing project sub-agreements, NGO principal agreements and visas were reported. Violence against humanitarian personnel and assets remained pervasive, predominantly in the northern areas. Some 142 separate incidents were reported in October and November, including 40 incidents of assault, intimidation, arbitrary detention and other forms of mistreatment against staff and 102 incidents of theft and looting of relief supplies.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Aid agencies brace to contain cholera ahead of the rainy season

The number of suspected cholera cases increased by 132 per cent in 2019, after falling by 64 per cent in 2018 from its peak in 2017, when more than a million suspected cholera cases were reported. This resurgence has given pause to humanitarian partners, who are doubling efforts to prevent further spread of the disease despite persistent challenges.

Factors underlying the resurgence of cholera in 2019 included earlier than usual rains, lack of a functioning health system, limited access to safe water and hygiene facilities. Also, access and bureaucratic impediments and lack of funding. While YHF and CERF funds covered Health and WASH cluster funding gaps in 2019, resources will be required early enough to enable partners to scale up cholera preparedness.

In 2019, the increase in suspected cases coincided with the onset of the rainy season, starting in week 7 (11-17 February) and peaking in week 14 (1-7 April). With this year’s rainy season fast approaching, Health and WASH cluster partners are stepping up preparedness efforts to prevent another significant outbreak. The National Cholera Taskforce and Scientific Committee is actively reviewing epidemiological data from previous years to understand trends better and identify hotspots to be targeted with preparedness and prevention efforts. The taskforce is also conducting studies in hotpots to map transmission patterns, revising the response plan accordingly.

The Health and WASH clusters are implementing capacity building activities, coordinating prevention and preparedness efforts in hotspots, and reviewing best practices and lessons learned from 2019 to improve the effectiveness of the response. They are also pre-positioning essential WASH supplies in priority districts. Informed by the analysis of the data gathered in 2019, partners are implementing targeted preparedness and prevention activities in ‘source’ locations. This includes rehabilitating water and sewage networks, increasing efforts to monitor water quality, and conducting awareness in mosques, schools and markets.

In addition, the WASH Cluster is establishing contingency partnership agreements to be activated in case of need with NGO partners and relevant technical authorities. Refresher trainings for Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) are being conducted, so is stepping up monitoring of population movements (especially of IDPs from high-risk locations) and rainfall forecasts.

The Health Cluster has also stepped up surveillance efforts and intensified capacity-building efforts, including the training of 125 laboratory technicians on sample collection and proper case reporting, training 952 healthcare workers from diarrhea treatment centers (DTCs) in 118 cholera priority districts on cholera case management, training 742 health workers from hospitals, DTCs and Central Public Health Laboratories on health care waste management and infection prevention control, and training 459 health workers on surveillance and case management of five infectious diseases, including cholera. Furthermore, in coordination with MOPHP, WHO is currently training 1,344 health workers from DTCs in 155 districts on cholera case management.

The Health Cluster has also worked to strengthen the capacity of the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL). The cluster has developed standard operating procedures and guidelines for sampling, transportation, and diagnostic testing for the CPHLs in Sana’a and Aden. It provided supplies to CPHLs in Sana’a, Aden and Al Hudaydah, and organized training on lab techniques for cholera and acute watery diarrhea (AWD) to 42 CHPL laboratory technicians. It also provided 70,000 cholera rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to DTCs.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response
Number of Programs and Allocations by Location

YHF allocates a record $109.4 million to support gaps in the HRP’s first and second line response

The Yemen Humanitarian Fund recently allocated almost $110million in support of the priority humanitarian needs, focusing particularly on areas where sustained humanitarian assistance and support for critical programming is required. This is the largest-ever amount allocated at once by a Country-Based Pooled Fund (CBPF). The $110million allocation targets all 22 governorates in Yemen.

Over $12million of this amount will cover gaps in the provision of critically under-funded protection services, including community protection centers, Gender-based violence (GBV) safe spaces and mine action. In particular, this allocation will support 10 community centers and integrated protection response in Aden, Al Hudaydah, Lahj, Saada, Sana’a, Taiz, Al Dhale, Abyan. Support is being provided for GBV response services in 15 safe spaces in Al Dhale, Abyan, Lahj, Taizz, Hudaydah, Sana’a, Saada, and West coast, while mine clearance and disposal will take place in 14 governorates where 3.35 million square meters of lands will be surveyed or cleared and will benefit 1.8 million individuals.

The Fund continues to support cluster efforts to mitigate the consequences of food insecurity. It will support livelihood interventions for over 300,000 highly vulnerable agricultural and fishery dependent families who are at high risk of becoming acutely food insecure, and whose conditions can improve quickly if their household income increases beneficiaries in 32 high priority IPC 3 and 4 districts. Specifically, funding will be provided for the distribution of agricultural and fishery kits, cash programming in high priority locations and the distribution of conditional, and season-specific cash through public works schemes.

This allocation will also help to cover gaps in the WASH response in critically affected districts, including 19 of the 45 districts with pockets of IPC 5 conditions and previously unreached areas including Taiz enclave, Saada, Al Bayda, Hajjah, and southern Al Hudaydah. Funding is also being provided for solid waste management and collection in priority urban centers where it presents a public health risk in 8 major cities in Ibb, Saada, Hajjah, Taiz, Hudaydah and Lahj governorates.

The Fund will continue to champion integrated programming in the IDP response and will help to cover gaps in the Rapid Response Mechanism, Health, WASH, Education, CCCM and Shelter/NFI in IDP collective sites and areas hosting large number of IDPs. As part of the Grand Bargain commitment to support localization of aid and cash-based programming, the Fund will pilot a 24-month project with a partner who will be responsible for providing a comprehensive capacity building package to high priority NNGOs working in critically impacted areas. Overall, 40 of the 74 projects funded include a cash component.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Visual

Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan - Funding Status

Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan - Funding Status

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